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Naperville family law attorneyGetting divorced is a traumatic and difficult process for many people, but if you have a possessive or controlling spouse, the process can be even harder. A spouse’s worst behavior is often brought out during divorce; in fact, research shows that victims of domestic violence are at the greatest risk of being seriously hurt or killed when they try to leave their abuser. If you are considering divorce in Illinois and are worried your spouse may try to stalk you, intimidate you, or otherwise control you, here are four things you can do that may help. 

Change Your Passwords 

Many couples share passwords to their accounts. Without you even realizing it, your spouse may be legally accessing your private information. Emails, bank statements, browser history, social media accounts, and text messages could all be easily available unless you change passwords. 

Open Personal Financial Accounts

If you share bank accounts, credit cards, or a cell phone plan with your spouse, you may want to consider closing them or getting your own private accounts. Even closing down shared accounts for online retailers that are connected to your credit cards may be a good idea. Be sure to talk to an attorney before you close any accounts that may be considered marital property. 


Lombard order of protection attorneyAccording to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence. Abuse and harassment between family or household members is a problem that many people keep hidden. Sadly, many abusive relationships escalate until the victim is severely injured or even killed. An order of protection is a court order that can help protect a victim from further abuse. However, many domestic violence victims do not obtain this valuable legal protection because they are unsure if the actions of a spouse or family member are considered abuse under Illinois law.

Abuse as Defined by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act

If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse at the hands of a romantic partner or family member, you should know that there are legal actions you can take to protect yourself. An order of protection may prohibit the perpetrator from coming to your home or workplace, calling or otherwise communicating with you, possessing firearms, and more.

To qualify for an Order of Protection, you will need to show that the person you are seeking protection from has physically harmed you or others in your household or caused you to fear that you will suffer harm. Many people assume that abuse is synonymous with physical violence; however, this is not the only type of behavior that is considered abusive under Illinois law. Per the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, abuse includes:


Naperville domestic violence lawyerDomestic violence and intimate partner abuse are not uncommon in the United States. Unfortunately, some evidence suggests that lockdowns intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 may be leading to an increase in domestic violence. Experts say that isolation brought on by the lockdowns can increase the chances of physical, emotional, mental, sexual, or financial abuse between romantic partners. If you have been a victim of domestic violence or abuse in Illinois, you should know that there are legal tools at your disposal that may help you get out of the abusive situation.  

Emergency Order of Protection

In Illinois, an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) may help a victim of domestic violence leave an abusive situation. The EOP can be obtained at the petitioners local courthouse. This protective order is intended to provide immediate legal protection to a victim of abuse, stalking, or threats of violence. You may obtain an EOP without personally notifying the individual from whom you are seeking protection. The EOP may contain several different provisions depending on the petitioner’s needs. The EOP may:

  • Prohibit the respondent, or subject of the order, from coming within a certain distance of the petitioner or the petitioner’s children


DuPage County family law attorneysBeing a victim of domestic violence can be a confusing and scary experience to endure. Victims may be uncertain of what their abuser is actually capable of or if the abuser will follow through with his or her threats. In many cases, a victim of domestic violence may be unsure as to whether or not the treatment he or she is being subjected to even “counts” as domestic violence. If you have been a victim of abuse by a household or family member, romantic partner, or ex-romantic partner, an emergency order of protection may benefit you in several ways.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence?

When most people think of domestic violence, they imagine physical abuse like punching, hitting, pushing, slapping, and kicking. However, this is not the only type of abuse that may be cause for acquiring an emergency order of protection. Domestic violence or abuse can also involve psychological or emotional manipulation. An abusive person may humiliate, demean, or frighten his or her victim in order to control him or her. The perpetrator may also threaten the victim or the victim’s loved ones. Some abusers control victims through financial means such as withholding money, prohibiting the victim from gaining employment, or controlling the victim’s spending to an extreme degree. One of the most important things to remember about abuse is that many abusers escalate the abusive behavior over time. If someone has made you feel afraid for your safety, an emergency protection order can help ensure that the situation does not worsen.

How Does an Emergency Order of Protection Work?

You can obtain an emergency order of protection (EOP) based on your testimony alone. Your abuser does not need to be present. Many protection orders coincide with a domestic battery arrest or other crime, but the abuser does not need to be arrested in order for a victim or potential victim to be granted a protection order. EOPs become effective immediately and last for up to 21 days. 


DuPage County emotional abuse attorneysMany people are under the misconception that domestic violence only involves physical violence like hitting and kicking. Emotional abuse can be much harder to recognize that physical violence, but it can be just as damaging to a person’s well-being. One of the most insidious parts of emotional or mental abuse is that the abuser often convinces the victim that he or she somehow deserves the terrible treatment. Many victims of emotional abuse are afraid to report the abuse or leave an abusive spouse. If you have been a victim of any form of domestic violence, speaking to a domestic violence attorney and requesting an order of protection may help.

Examples of Emotional Abuse

Abusive individuals may use a variety of tactics to control and dominate their victim. They may use derogatory, insulting, and manipulative language to break down the victim’s self-esteem. They may withhold affection, communication, and support. If your spouse, romantic partner, or family member controls who you talk to, discourages you from spending time with loved ones, and disrespects your boundaries, you may be a victim of emotional abuse.

Gaslighting is also very common in emotionally abusive relationship. Gaslighting refers to a situation in which an abuser convinces the victim that he or she is misremembering events, not thinking clearly, or even going insane. Emotionally abusive people may use financial abuse to further control their victims as well. Financial abuse can include controlling a victim’s access to money, prohibiting the victim from getting a job, or insisting on seeing receipts for every cent that the victim spends.

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